Twas the month of May. The wind still blew cold; but from bush and tree, field and flower, came the welcome sound,"Spring is come." Wild-flowers in profusion covered the hedges. Under the little apple-tree, Spring seemed busy, and toldhis tale from one of the branches which hung fresh and blooming, and covered with delicate pink blossoms that were just readyto open. The branch well knew how beautiful it was; this knowledge exists as much in the leaf as in the blood; I wastherefore not surprised when a nobleman’s carriage, in which sat the young countess, stopped in the road just by. She saidthat an apple-branch was a most lovely object, and an emblem of spring in its most charming aspect. Then the branch wasbroken off for her, and she held it in her delicate hand, and sheltered it with her silk parasol. Then they drove to thecastle, in which were lofty halls and splendid drawing-rooms. Pure white curtains fluttered before the open windows, andbeautiful flowers stood in shining, transparent vases; and in one of them, which looked as if it had been cut out of newlyfallen snow, the apple-branch was placed, among some fresh, light twigs of beech. It was a charming sight. Then the branchbecame proud, which was very much like human nature.  People of every description entered the room, and, according to their position in society, so dared they to express theiradmiration. Some few said nothing, others expressed too much, and the apple-branch very soon got to understand that there wasas much difference in the characters of human beings as in those of plants and flowers. Some are all for pomp and parade,others have a great deal to do to maintain their own importance, while the rest might be spared without much loss to society.So thought the apple-branch, as he stood before the open window, from which he could see out over gardens and fields, wherethere were flowers and plants enough for him to think and reflect upon; some rich and beautiful, some poor and humble indeed.  "Poor, despised herbs," said the apple-branch; "there is really a difference between them and such as I am. Howunhappy they must be, if they can feel as those in my position do! There is a difference indeed, and so there ought to be, orwe should all be equals."  And the apple-branch looked with a sort of pity upon them, especially on a certain little flower that is found in fieldsand in ditches. No one bound these flowers together in a nosegay; they were too common; they were even known to grow betweenthe paving-stones, shooting up everywhere, like bad weeds; and they bore the very ugly name of "dog-flowers" or"dandelions."  "Poor, despised plants," said the apple-bough, "it is not your fault that you are so ugly, and that you have such anugly name; but it is with plants as with men,-there must be a difference."  "A difference!" cried the sunbeam, as he kissed the blooming apple-branch, and then kissed the yellow dandelion out inthe fields. All were brothers, and the sunbeam kissed them-the poor flowers as well as the rich.  The apple-bough had never thought of the boundless love of God, which extends over all the works of creation, overeverything which lives, and moves, and has its being in Him; he had never thought of the good and beautiful which are sooften hidden, but can never remain forgotten by Him,-not only among the lower creation, but also among men. The sunbeam, theray of light, knew better.  "You do not see very far, nor very clearly," he said to the apple-branch. "Which is the despised plant you sospecially pity?"  "The dandelion," he replied. "No one ever places it in a nosegay; it is often trodden under foot, there are so many ofthem; and when they run to seed, they have flowers like wool, which fly away in little pieces over the roads, and cling tothe dresses of the people. They are only weeds; but of course there must be weeds. O, I am really very thankful that I wasnot made like one of these flowers."

There came presently across the fields a whole group of children, the youngest of whom was so small that it had to be carriedby the others; and when he was seated on the grass, among the yellow flowers, he laughed aloud with joy, kicked out hislittle legs, rolled about, plucked the yellow flowers, and kissed them in childlike innocence. The elder children broke offthe flowers with long stems, bent the stalks one round the other, to form links, and made first a chain for the neck, thenone to go across the shoulders, and hang down to the waist, and at last a wreath to wear round the head, so that they lookedquite splendid in their garlands of green stems and golden flowers. But the eldest among them gathered carefully the fadedflowers, on the stem of which was grouped together the seed, in the form of a white feathery coronal. These loose, airy wool-flowers are very beautiful, and look like fine snowy feathers or down. The children held them to their mouths, and tried toblow away the whole coronal with one puff of the breath. They had been told by their grandmothers that who ever did so wouldbe sure to have new clothes before the end of the year. The despised flower was by this raised to the position of a prophetor foreteller of events.  "Do you see," said the sunbeam, "do you see the beauty of these flowers? do you see their powers of giving pleasure?"  "Yes, to children," said the apple-bough.  By-and-by an old woman came into the field, and, with a blunt knife without a handle, began to dig round the roots ofsome of the dandelion-plants, and pull them up. With some of these she intended to make tea for herself; but the rest she wasgoing to sell to the chemist, and obtain some money.  "But beauty is of higher value than all this," said the apple-tree branch; "only the chosen ones can be admitted intothe realms of the beautiful. There is a difference between plants, just as there is a difference between men."  Then the sunbeam spoke of the boundless love of God, as seen in creation, and over all that lives, and of the equaldistribution of His gifts, both in time and in eternity.  "That is your opinion," said the apple-bough.  Then some people came into the room, and, among them, the young countess,-the lady who had placed the apple-bough in thetransparent vase, so pleasantly beneath the rays of the sunlight. She carried in her hand something that seemed like aflower. The object was hidden by two or three great leaves, which covered it like a shield, so that no draught or gust ofwind could injure it, and it was carried more carefully than the apple-branch had ever been. Very cautiously the large leaveswere removed, and there appeared the feathery seed-crown of the despised dandelion. This was what the lady had so carefullyplucked, and carried home so safely covered, so that not one of the delicate feathery arrows of which its mist-like shape wasso lightly formed, should flutter away. She now drew it forth quite uninjured, and wondered at its beautiful form, and airylightness, and singular construction, so soon to be blown away by the wind.  "See," she exclaimed, "how wonderfully God has made this little flower. I will paint it with the apple-branchtogether. Every one admires the beauty of the apple-bough; but this humble flower has been endowed by Heaven with anotherkind of loveliness; and although they differ in appearance, both are the children of the realms of beauty."  Then the sunbeam kissed the lowly flower, and he kissed the blooming apple-branch, upon whose leaves appeared a rosyblush.

 那正是五月。风吹来仍然很冷;但是灌木和大树,田野和草原,都说春天已经到来了。处处都开满了花,一直开到灌木丛组成的篱笆上。春天就在这儿讲它的故事。它在一棵小苹果树上讲--这棵树有一根鲜艳的绿枝:它上面布满了粉红色的、细嫩的、随时就要开放的花苞。它知道它是多么美丽--它这种先天的知识深藏在它的叶子里,好像是流在血液里一样。因此当一位贵族的车子在它面前的路上停下来的时候,当年轻的伯爵夫人说这根柔枝是世界上最美丽的东西、是春天最美丽的表现的时候,它一点也不感到惊奇。接着这枝子就被折断了。她把它握在柔嫩的手里,并且还用绸阳伞替它遮住太阳。他们回到他们华贵的公馆里来。这里面有许多高大的厅堂和美丽的房间。洁白的窗帘在敞着的窗子上迎风飘荡;好看的花儿在透明的、发光的花瓶里面亭亭地立着。有一个花瓶简直像是新下的雪所雕成的。这根苹果枝就插在它里面几根新鲜的山毛榉枝子中间。看它一眼都使人感到愉快。  这根枝子变得骄傲气来;这也是人之常情。  各色各样的人走过这房间。他们可以根据自己的身份来表示他们的赞赏。有些人一句话也不讲;有些人却又讲得太多。苹果枝子知道,在人类中间,正如在植物中间一样,也存在着区别。  "有些东西是为了好看;有些东西是为了实用;但是也有些东西却是完全没有用,"苹果树枝想。  正因为它是被放在一个敞着的窗子面前,同时又因为它从这儿可以看到花园和田野,因此它有许多花儿和植物供它思索和考虑。植物中有富的,也有贫贱的--有的简直是太贫贱了。  "可怜没有人理的植物啊!"苹果枝说。"一切东西的确都有区别!如果这些植物也能像我和我一类的那些东西那样有感觉,它们一定会感到多么不愉快啊。一切东西的确有区别,而且的确也应该如此,否则大家就都是一样的了!"  苹果枝对某些花儿--像田里和沟里丛生的那些花儿--特别表示出怜悯的样子。谁也不把他们扎成花束。它们是太普通了,人们甚至在铺地石中间都可以看得到。它们像野草一样,在什么地方都冒出来,而且它们连名字都很丑,叫做什么"魔鬼的奶桶"(注:即蒲公英,因为它折断后可以冒出像牛奶似的白浆。)。  "可怜被人瞧不起的植物啊!"苹果枝说。"你们的这种处境,你们的平凡,你们所得到的这些丑名字,也不能怪你们自己!在植物中间,正如在人类中间一样,一切都有个区别啦!"  "区别?"阳光说。它吻着这盛开的苹果枝,但是它也吻着田野里的那些黄色的"魔鬼的奶桶"。阳光的所有弟兄们都吻着它们--吻着下贱的花,也吻着富贵的花。  苹果枝从来就没想到,造物主对一切活着和动着的东西都一样给以无限的慈爱。它从来没有想到,美和善的东西可能会被掩盖住了,但是并没有被忘记--这也是合乎人情的。  太阳光--明亮的光线--知道得更清楚:  "你的眼光看得不远,你的眼光看得不清楚!你特别怜悯的、没有人理的植物,是哪些植物呢?"  "魔鬼的奶桶!"苹果枝说。"人们从来不把它扎成花束。人们把它踩在脚底下,因为它们长得太多了。当它们在结子的时候,它们就像小片的羊毛,在路上到处乱飞,还附在人的衣上。它们不过是野草罢了!--它们也只能是野草!啊,我真要谢天谢地,我不是它们这类植物中的一种!"

从田野那儿来了一大群孩子。他们中最小的一个是那么小,还要别的孩子抱着他。当他被放到这些黄花中间的时候,他乐得大笑起来。他的小腿踢着,遍地打滚。他只摘下这种黄花,同时天真烂漫地吻着它们。那些较大的孩子把这些黄花从空梗子上折下来,并且把这根梗子插到那根梗子上,一串一串地联成链子。他们先做一个项链,然后又做一个挂在肩上的链子,一个系在腰间的链子,一个悬在胸脯上的链子,一个戴在头上的链子。这真成了绿环子和绿链子的展览会。但是那几个大孩子当心地摘下那些落了花的梗子--它们结着以白绒球的形式出现的果实。这松散的、缥缈的绒球,本身就是一件小小的完整的艺术品;它看起来像羽毛、雪花和茸毛。他们把它放在嘴面前,想要一口气把整朵的花球吹走,因为祖母曾经说过:谁能够这样做,谁就可以在新年到来以前得到一套新衣。  所以在这种情况下,这朵被瞧不起的花就成了一个真正的预言家。  "你看到没有?"太阳光说。"你看到它的美没有?你看到它的力量没有?"  "看到了,它只能和孩子在一道时是这样!"苹果枝说。  这时有一个老太婆到田野里来了。她用一把没有柄的钝刀子在这花的周围挖着,把它从土里取出来。她打算把一部分的根子用来煮咖啡吃;把另一部分拿到一个药材店里当做药用。  "不过美是一种更高级的东西呀!"苹果枝说。"只有少数特殊的人才可以走进美的王国。植物与植物之间是有区别的,正如人与人之间有区别一样。"   于是太阳光就谈到造物主对于一切造物和有生命的东西的无限的爱,和对于一切东西永恒公平合理的分配。  "是的,这不过是你的看法!"苹果枝说。   这时有人走进房间里来了。那位美丽年轻的伯爵夫人也来了--把苹果枝插在透明的花瓶中,放在太阳光里的人就是她。她手里拿着一朵花--或者一件类似花的东西。这东西被三四片大叶子掩住了:它们像一顶帽子似地在它的周围保护着,使微风或者大风都伤害不到它。它被小心翼翼地端在手中,那根娇嫩的苹果枝从来也没受过这样的待遇。  那几片大叶子现在轻轻地被挪开了。人们可以看到那个被人瞧不起的黄色"魔鬼的奶桶"的柔嫩的白绒球!这就是它!她那么小心地把它摘下来!她那么谨慎地把这带回家,好使那个云雾一般的圆球上的细嫩柔毛不致被风吹散。她把它保护得非常完整。她赞美它漂亮的形态,它透明的外表,它特殊的构造,和它不可捉摸的、被风一吹即散的美。  "看吧,造物主把它创造得多么可爱!"她说。"我要把这根苹果枝画下来。大家现在都觉得它非凡地漂亮,不过这朵微贱的花儿,以另一种方式也从上天得到了同样多的恩惠。虽然它们两者都有区别,但它们都是美的王国中的孩子。"  于是太阳光吻了这微贱的花儿,也吻了这开满了花的苹果枝--它的花瓣似乎泛出了一阵难为情的绯红。(1852年)  这也是一首散文诗,最初发表在1852年哥本哈根出版的《丹麦大众历书》上。"植物与植物之间是有区别的,正如人与人之间有区别一样"。这里所说的"区别"是指"尊贵"和"微贱"之分。开满了花的苹果枝是"尊贵"的,遍地丛生的蒲公英是"微贱"的。虽然它们都有区别,但它们都是美的王国中的孩子。"于是太阳光吻了这微贱的花,也吻了这开满了花的苹果枝--它的花瓣似乎泛出了一阵难为情的绯红。"--因为他曾经骄傲得不可一世,认为自己最为"尊贵"。这里充分表现出了安徒生的民主精神。
  • blooming [´blu:miŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声 a.正开花的;妙龄的 四级词汇
  • countess [´kauntis] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.伯爵夫人;女伯爵 六级词汇
  • emblem [´embləm] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.象征;标志;徽章 六级词汇
  • dandelion [´dændilaiən] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.蒲公英 六级词汇
  • boundless [´baundlis] 移动到这儿单词发声 a.无边无际的 四级词汇
  • wonderfully [´wʌndəfuli] 移动到这儿单词发声 ad.令人惊讶地;奇妙地 四级词汇
  • loveliness [´lʌvlinis] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.美丽,可爱 四级词汇